Eighth-graders interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics may want attend an open house from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Olentangy Academy, 7774 Graphics Way, Lewis Center.
“We’ve always got new stuff going on,” said principal Chelsea Eismon. “We’re just getting into a sustainability/growth project for our third quarter. They’re really getting into integration between subject areas.”
The academy’s STEM program currently has 100 freshmen taking engineering, English, math and science courses, and take social studies and electives at their home high schools. Eismon said the academy is hoping to have another 100 incoming freshmen for the 2016-17 school year.
“We’re in the middle of trying to figure out what our junior and senior year is going to look like,” she said. “We’re working on creating three different pathways — one will definitely be engineering and then some sort of medical field.”
Juniors and seniors will also have the opportunity to work on-site with a mentor in a STEM field, she said. The Olentangy School District’s website said academy “students focus on education which will develop 21st-century thinking … Students learn how to be innovative and think like an engineer, solve real-world problems, conduct relevant research and work with professionals in a variety of STEM fields.”
During the open house, students and their parents can take a self-guided tour of the academy, watch videos on its offerings, learn how to apply and ask questions of faculty and current students.
“We’re going to have some of our students help us run some of the lab equipment,” Eismon said.
Seeing how the lab equipment works is one of the highlights of the open house. Last year, there were demonstrations of 3-D printing. Now, there’s 3-D scanning.
“The students have been using that quite a bit,” Eismon said. “They’re just understanding how it works. You can take a 3-D scan image of yourself. We actually did that in a really cool Mars rover project — all their teachers got left on Mars. They had to scan in their teachers and print their teachers off. Then they had to build a robot and program it remotely to design these wheels that could go on any kind of terrain and then pick up the teacher that you want to save and then bring them back. That got them used to the 3-D scanner. It was a fun project.”
The academy is also home to the district’s Academy for Community Transition for students with special needs; and OASIS, a more personalized educational program.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.